During a participation in the National Land Forum as part of a working trip to the Chernihiv region, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed Decree № 449/2020 “On Certain Measures to Accelerate Reforms in the Sphere of Land Relations”. The document provides for the transfer of agricultural land from state to communal ownership.
According to the President, this step will complete the decentralization reform.
"This is the key point without which decentralization cannot be completed in Ukraine. This is the transfer of land directly to communities. This important step will be taken today. Today, I am signing a decree on measures to transfer agricultural land from state to communal ownership," he said.
Thus, on October 26, all newly created communities will receive land in communal ownership and will be able to use funds from land use for their development.
According to the Head of State, in general, local self-government will own more than 2 million hectares of land.
"We bring the land back to the people. From the center to the local level. This is logical and fair. It is important that the law prohibits the sale of communal land. And this is the guarantee that the next generations of Ukrainians will remain the owners of their land," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
He reminded that talks on land reform had been held in Ukraine for 28 years, but the relevant draft law had not even been discussed.
"Why? The answer, in my opinion, is very simple. Different politicians of different times, old politicians have created a curtain of alleged concern for people, alleged protection of Ukrainian land, which allegedly belongs to citizens. But they did not allow people to be full owners, that is, to own, use and dispose of land on their own," the President said, noting that the "gray" land market was active instead.
The Head of State said that the current government promised to give Ukrainians real ownership of land. And it kept that promise. Thus, on March 31, 2020, the Verkhovna Rada passed the law on the circulation of agricultural land, which provides the right to purchase land only to Ukrainians. Legislation also sets limits on the maximum area that can be owned by one person and preferential terms for Ukrainian farmers. On May 6, the President signed the law on the national infrastructure of geospatial data, which will bring order to all registers of natural resources of Ukraine, and on July 22 - the law on spatial planning of communities.
That is why today is a truly historic day, Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized.
"It is important to complete decentralization. Because it is the communities that know best how to organize their lives: where the kindergarten, school, public roads, gardens and industrial facilities should be,” he said.
Head of the State Service of Ukraine for Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre Roman Leshchenko said that Ukraine no longer has 10.4 million hectares of state-owned agricultural land, as previously claimed.
"It was a lie. They falsely claimed that the state had this land," he said.
Currently, according to him, more than 2 million hectares of land are in state ownership, which are transferred to the ownership of communities by a decree of the President of Ukraine. After the transfer of lands to the UTCs, the state has only 750 thousand hectares left under the act of permanent use (lands of the Academy of Sciences, the Ministry of Defense, the Penitentiary Service, etc.), which are currently being inventoried and receiving cadastral numbers to prevent private ownership.
"Therefore, when the President asks the Ukrainian people whether people should be held accountable for large-scale corruption violations and (whether it is necessary - ed.) to introduce life imprisonment - it is necessary, because, deceiving the Ukrainian people, visiting TV channels, they carried out a robbery in real time. That is why they oppose land reform," the Head of the State Geocadastre said.
"We will display on a public cadastral map and show each owner of Ukrainian land - how much taxes he pays, as well as who owns the subsoil of the state withdrawn through the mechanism of free privatization. This is Ukrainian land, it has not disappeared anywhere, and it has the full name of the owner and the date when it was taken out into private ownership due to false orders,” Roman Leshchenko added.
Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture Ihor Petrashko noted that in the framework of the land reform, preferential terms of access to the land market will be introduced for Ukrainian farmers. Farmers can buy land that is provided to them for permanent use or lifelong inherited possession. They can also be re-issued for land lease with payment in installments of up to 10 years. Such farmers will be able to obtain land at a value at the level of monetary valuation, without conducting land auctions.
"In addition, in order to systematize and summarize information on the ownership, use and disposal of land, the Ministry of Economy is working to create a system for monitoring land relations," Ihor Petrashko said. This system will show transparent information on the state of land relations for all Ukrainians.
In addition, according to him, the Ministry of Economy expects the adoption of important land bills № 2194 and № 2195, which should introduce deregulation in the field of land relations, minimize citizen’s contact with officials, introduce digital transformation of the State Geocadastre and electronic auctions.